Vitamin D metabolites in plasma of cows fed a prepartum low-calcium diet for prevention of parturient hypocalcemia

J Dairy Sci. 1981 Feb;64(2):217-26. doi: 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(81)82557-X.


Our objective was to characterize changes in vitamin D metabolites of plasma in Jersey cows fed a prepartum low-calcium diet. Eight cows were fed a high-calcium diet (80 g/day) and eight were fed a low-calcium diet (8 g/day) at least 14 days before parturition. Calcium concentrations in plasma decreased after initiation of feeding either diet, but cows fed low-calcium diet tended to have lower prepartum calcium and phosphorus and greater peripartal calcium in plasma. Hydroxyproline in plasma was greater during peripartal period in cows fed low-calcium diet. Prepartum 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D in plasma tended to be greater in cows fed low calcium. Increases in 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D were only 2 and 3 days after initiation of the low-calcium diet; during the first 2 days after parturition, however, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D tended to be lower in those cows fed low calcium. As parturition neared, 24,25-dihydroxyvitamin D tended to be lower in cows fed the low calcium-diet. Usual early postpartum changes in calcium phosphorus, magnesium, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, and hydroxyproline were seen during first few days after initiation of feeding low calcium. Thus, we propose that the preventative action of the low-calcium diet is associated with preparation of the calcium homeostatic mechanism several days before the calcium demand of initiation of lactation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Diseases / diet therapy
  • Bone Diseases / prevention & control
  • Bone Diseases / veterinary
  • Calcium / blood
  • Calcium, Dietary / therapeutic use*
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / diet therapy
  • Cattle Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Dihydroxycholecalciferols / blood*
  • Female
  • Hydroxycholecalciferols / blood*
  • Hydroxyproline / blood
  • Hypocalcemia / diet therapy
  • Hypocalcemia / prevention & control
  • Hypocalcemia / veterinary*
  • Labor, Obstetric
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / prevention & control
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / veterinary
  • Phosphorus / blood
  • Pregnancy


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Dihydroxycholecalciferols
  • Hydroxycholecalciferols
  • Phosphorus
  • Hydroxyproline
  • Calcium